The Force, it seems, is with Los Angeles. After playing one of the greatest games of architectural musical chairs in US history, the board of the George Lucas Museum of Narrative art yesterday announced that it hasdecided to locate itsMAD Architects-designed building in the citys Exposition Park.
If approved by LA officials, the sinuous new structure, floating over 67acres of green space, would occupy the site of two parking lots, just west of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. It would contain close to 10,000 paintings, illustrations, and other objects dedicated to the art of visual storytelling, as the museum describes it.
The project has been looking for a host city for more than half a decade. In early 2010, Lucas proposed a classically inspired design for San Franciscos Presidio. But the project faced community opposition, as well as derision from Presidio Trust’s director of public affairs, Tia Lombardi, who mocked the design as Empire meets Gone With the Wind meets Snow White. That plan, and two others competing for the site, died in 2014. Lucas then commissioned Chinese firm MAD to design a spaceship-likeproposal for Chicagos Lake Michigan waterfront, near Soldier Field. That plan was derailed, in part, by a lawsuit filed by Chicago nonprofit Friends of the Parks. The Los Angeles scheme beat out yet another San Francisco proposal, also from MAD, which would have been located on the citys Treasure Island.
Its a natural place to have this museum in the creative capital of the world and in the geographic center of the city, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Los Angeles Times. Its a banner day for L.A. Billionaires have been kind to the citys art scene as of late. Eli Broad opened his Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed Broad, located Downtown, in 2015, while Guess founders Paul and Maurice Marciano are building their own contemporary art museum, designed by wHY, inside a former Scottish Rites temple on Wilshire Boulevard.
MADs Los Angeles design bears an unmistakable resemblance to their Chicago proposal. But renderings reveal it weaving into its surroundings more aggressively, which would be a welcome change in an area dominated by asphalt . The long, carved-out structure would bridge above a new park, its roof covered with trees and terraced green space. Right now it would contain about 275,000 square feet of interior space, including about 100,000 square feet of galleries. Other facilities will include classrooms, a restaurant, conference space, and (of course) cinemas. According to spokesman David Perry, the museum plans to break ground this year and complete its new building by 2021.
All that being said, the museum won’t be a done deal until it receives city approval and overcomes any local opposition. Remember: It wasn’t long ago that Chicago said it would host the museum—a fact that should give Force-sensitive Angelenos pause.